Disability as Diversity: A Guidebook for Inclusion in Medicine, Nursing, and the Health Professions

Editors: Meeks, Lisa M., Neal-Boylan, Leslie (Eds.)

Administrators and faculty in medical, nursing and health science programs are witnessing a substantial increase in the number of students with disabilities entering their programs. Concurrently, the benefits of diversity in healthcare are becoming increasingly apparent and important. Provider-patient concordance is a known mechanism for reducing health care disparities.  By developing a workforce that mirrors the patient population, we can appropriately inform disability care, reducing health care disparities while embracing the tenets of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), namely equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for qualified individuals with disabilities. One in five individuals will experience disability at some point in their lives, making this the largest minority in the US. A commitment to disability inclusion for qualified students should be a high-level goal of nursing, medical, and other health science programs. To support this goal, leaders in these areas must develop robust programs and an understanding of the best practices for inclusion. This first-of-its-kind title is designed to help deans, program directors, faculty, student affairs personnel and disability resource professionals thoughtfully plan for the growing population of health-care professionals with disabilities. The content helps stakeholders contextualize disability inclusion in health-care education as a function of social justice and a mechanism of reducing health care disparities for patients. It offers pragmatic advice, grounded in research, best practice, and case law to address the highly nuanced approach to determining and implementing accommodations in a high-stakes clinical environment.  Disability as Diversity connects the moving parts necessary to ensure equal access for qualified students and provides a blueprint for crafting policy, proactive messaging, improving climate, adhering to accreditation standards, addressing licensing and board exams, responding to student failure, all while remaining compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and applicable Federal regulations. This text provides educators with the perspectives and skills they need to bring disability inclusion to the forefront of health education.  

Equal Access for Students with Disabilities: The Guide for Health Science and Professional Education (2nd Ed)

(2020) Meeks, L., Jain, N. & Laird. E,

Springer Publishing.

A vital resource for ensuring students with disabilities have access to appropriate, legal, and necessary accommodations

Now in its second edition, this book on disability inclusion in the health sciences remains the most comprehensive, critically and legally informed guidance available to health science programs. Grounded in the ADA, case law, and OCR determinations, this seminal text delivers information that is translatable to daily practice. The second edition focuses on disability as a welcome form of diversity, with concomitant changes to language and approach that promote disability inclusion.

New chapters and updates on topics including technical standards; a new appendix to guide faculty communication; and revised advice throughout, provide faculty, student affairs and disability professionals with the most up-to-date practices. The text delivers updated legal guidance and case references, assistance in benchmarking office policies and practices, new case studies, and a review chapter for teaching and assessing learning. New examples impart the best decision-making practices, describe what to do when things go awry, and discuss how to avoid problems by implementing strong accessibility-focused policies. Written by noted educators and practitioners at prestigious health science schools, this text is backed by years of practice and expertise. It is written in an easy-to-read, engaging manner that makes disability inclusion and disability law accessible to all.

  • New to the Second Edition:

    • Focus on the importance of fully-inclusive education for health care practitioners

    • Real-world informed case studies that demonstrate best practices

    • New and updated advice highlighting recent legal decisions

    • New chapter on technical standards

    • Updated guidance to inform office policies and practices

    • Chapter specific review questions for teaching and self-assessment

    • Expanded discussion of clinical accommodations

    • Updated guides for high stakes exams, including new personal statement prompts

    • Communication guide for faculty

    • Available in e-book format

    • Key Features:

      • Addresses all aspects of disability, including disability law, for students in health science settings

      • Delivers information directly applicable to practice

      • Accessibly written by esteemed and experienced practitioners and educators

      • Includes easy-to-follow flowcharts

      • Supports professional development in an affordable format

The Guide to Assisting Students with Disabilities: Equal Access in Health Science and Professional Education

(First Edition) (2015)

Meeks, L. & Jain, N. Springer Publishing.

Students with disabilities studying health sciences face unique challenges within their educational environments that require distinct accommodations. This manual is a vital resource for administrators and faculty in health science programs that describes how to create accommodations that meet the needs of students with disabilities in academic health science settings. Grounded in federal disability law, case law, and Office for Civil Rights (OCR) determinations, this highly practical manual is written by experienced disability service providers from some of the most prestigious health science schools in the country. In a clear, well-organized format, they bring their expertise to bear on all aspects of disability and disability law in the health science setting. Citing legal cases and real life scenarios, the manual describes best practices for good decision-making, how to avoid problems by implementing strong accessibility-focused policies, and how to resolve problems in difficult cases, with a focus on providing effective services for students while protecting the institution from potential liability.

Each chapter is replete with illustrative examples, including tips for creative accommodations, advice for troubleshooting, and specific guidance for working with students with all types of disabilities. The book describes the process for determining disability accommodations and provides examples of typical accommodations in didactic as well as clinical and laboratory settings. Tools provided in the text include sample letters and procedures, lists of nationwide professional resources, flowcharts, graphs and worksheets to assist disability service providers with determining and implementing appropriate student accommodations. Additionally, it discusses myths about disability, the importance of professional communication around disability, and how to encourage a culture of disability acceptance within schools. With its concrete framework, this book will help disability service and administrative professionals move away from a mode of "putting out fires" and toward establishing a welcoming environment where students feel safe to disclose their disabilities early and seek the support and accommodations needed to facilitate equal access.

Key Features:


  • Addresses all aspects of disability and disability law for students in the health science setting

  • Includes clearly written Do's and Don'ts

  • Presents examples of accommodations that are appropriate in the classroom, clinic, and laboratory

  • Provides easy to follow flowcharts and worksheets

  • Includes resources for students and legal case examples throughout

Medical Students with Disabilities: A Generation of Practice

A publication from the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) provides medical educators with the resources they need to work with students who have disabilities. Medical Students with Disabilities: Resources to Enhance Accessibility does not replace the technical standards guide published by the AAMC in 2005 (Medical Students with Disabilities: A Generation of Practice) but rather speaks to the current state of resources available to medical schools as they accept and matriculate a growing number of medical students with a wide range of disabilities. Specifically, there is an emphasis in this publication on the assistive technologies available for medical students.

Medical Students with Disabilities: Resources to Enhance Accessibility

This AAMC publication speaks to the current state of resources available to medical schools as they accept and matriculate a growing number of medical students with a wide range of disabilities. Specifically, there is an emphasis in this publication on the assistive technologies available for medical students.

The Exceptional Nurse: Tales from the trenches of truly resilient nurses working with disAbilities


They’re strong. They’re persistent. They’re resilient. They’re exceptional nurses. Read the true, inspiring stories of nurses with disabilities who overcame significant odds—managing physical and mental challenges on the job—and continued to be a nurse through it all.
You’ll read of a nurse who has a learning disability and developed his own system of accommodation. You’ll find out about a nurse who experienced an amputation after many conservation surgeries and found a way to keep working. You’ll learn about a nurse who worked through a terrifying hurricane and developed mental illness, and learned important lessons about herself to help her conquer it, and continue being a nurse. You’ll hear the stories of what it’s like to lose hearing while on the job as well as develop vision deficits while nursing.
In all these stories, the nurses’ resilience is what helped them pull through adverse situations, made them stronger and more effective nurses in the end.
 Also included is practical information on how to navigate the vocational rehabilitation system including a guide to requesting services, a sample accommodation request letter to share with an employer, as well as information on how to best disclose a psychiatric disability. Whether you’re a nurse or a student with a disability or you care about a nurse with a disability, this book will leave you inspired and prepared to be an exceptional nurse yourself. 

docs with disabilities, doctors with disabilities, medical science for people with disabilities, disabled doctors, disabled med students, students with disabilities, hsm coalition, listserv, books on students with disabilities, research help, medical student resources, lisa meeks

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